Multiple barriers can potentially limit the quality of formal systems of prehospital care, including deficits in training, equipment, funding, and organizational structure.
No widely accepted strategy exists to assess the availability of essential medical equipment for managing traumatic injury by advanced life support (ALS) ambulances within a national public ambulance system.
We employed a published matrix of essential equipment for prehospital providers developed for international use by an expert panel from the World Health Organization, adapted it for current use, and performed a representative sampling of public ALS ambulances in substations across Ukraine.
We evaluated the findings to inform an overall assessment of prehospital capability based on the availability of essential equipment in managing urgent injuries that may pose a threat to life and limb in trauma patients.
We inventoried 48 ALS ambulances across the country against our developed checklist. These ambulances generally had sufficient medical supplies to perform patient assessment, to control hemorrhage, and to immobilize suspected fractures, but deficits were identified in tools for airway management and for the diagnosis and treatment of hypoxia.
The use of a tailored checklist to assess for the availability of essential medical equipment on ambulances can provide valuable insights into both the capabilities and limitations of the ambulance network. This checklist can be updated to incorporate new research and new standards of care, and can contribute to improving the delivery of prehospital trauma care across a national public ambulance system.